Kumano Kodo UNESCO World Heritage Pilgrimage Walk, Japan, 2014.

UNMAPPING THE END OF THE WORLD

There are many words for ‘Country’…

Kira / Kiida (Barkindji / Paakantji)  |  Thangurra (Mutthi Mutthi)
Ngyiampaa (Ngyiampaa)  |  Country (Australia)
Jimoto (Japan)  |  Paese (Italy) …

Unmapping the End of the World is an international, durational contemporary art project that brings together fourteen artists from many nations across Australia, Europe and Japan, to ‘walk country’ together on three continents and to expand the artistic discussion around global intercultural contemporaneity.

Daniel Browning (Bundjalung/Kullilli) | Daniel Crooks (Australia) | Camilla Franzoni (Camuni / Italy) | Julie Gough (Tebrikunna) | Jonathan Kimberley (Australia) | Mishka Henner (France / UK) |
Sasha Huber (Switzerland) | puralia meenamatta (Jim Everett) (Plangermaireenner) |
Ricky Mitchell (Paakantji) | Kumpei Miyata (Japan) | Daryl Pappin (Mutthi Mutthi) |
Koji Ryui (Japan / Australia) | Yhonnie Scarce (Kokatha / Nukunu) | Lyota Yagi (Japan) 

Unmapping the End of the World aims to shift conventional notions of the singular locus of a biennale and commences with an official Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #10 journey, between three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in Australia, Japan and Italy. This collaborative journey specifically acknowledges that the continent of Australia has always been home to many Aboriginal nations by commencing at a site of great significance, not only to the local Paakantji/Barkindji, Mutthi Mutthi and Ngyiampaa peoples, but also to global knowledge about humanity as a whole. Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area (Mungo National Park) is one of the worlds oldest known sites of human occupation (42,000+ years). We then travel consecutively to the Kumano Kodo UNESCO World Heritage Walk in Japan and the Valcamonica Rock Art UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Italy.

The theme of Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #10: everywhere all at once…here, recognizes that the idea of ‘global intercultural contemporaneity’ is a powerful and complex reality for artists around the world to navigate. Reconciling the convergence of diverse international artistic traditions and technologies that are breaking with established timelines in meaningful ways is arguably the central artistic challenge that defines our age; presenting opportunities to work across borders, cultures and time, which are non-hegemonic and recognize greater potential through collaborative intercultural approaches.  We aim to recalibrate intercultural, artistic and conceptual understandings via the durational practice of ‘walking country’ and working at the contemporary nexus between ‘the virtual and the grounded’. The project then culminates as the Opening Exhibition of Mildura Palimpsest Biennale at Mildura Regional Gallery (MAC) on 2 October 2015.

A combination of deep cultural knowledge and open collaboration will be required from all involved. The participating artists have each come to the project via their specific experience and the intercultural knowledge they offer. By fostering active participation in knowledge sharing between cultures, walking country together in specific places and presenting durational work in direct response throughout the journey, Unmapping the End of the World asks the key question: What does connection to country, groundedness and local identity mean in an age of globalization and technological revolution?

This durational project commences with a four-week journey as the catalyst for each artist to create new work in response to their discussions and collaborative experience. Artists will then return to their studio’s, to extended residencies in Mildura and/or expand on new collaborative working relationships in the lead up to the biennale.  Emerging Mutthi Mutthi photographer Daryl Pappin from the Willandra Lakes Region recently said, “I do a lot of things for the place I’m from and for my people. I don’t even think about what I do, I just do it as part of me. Taking pictures and making art is just one small part of what I do to share the beauty of our land. I want to be identified as a person who works on country, a custodian of the land.”

This project has emerged out of a series of long-term intercultural engagements initiated by curator / artist Jonathan Kimberley since at least 2004. Initially in collaboration with puralia meenamatta (Jim Everett) (Plangermaireener) and Patrick Mung Mung (Gija), and also with Ngipi Ward, Pulpurru Davies, Nancy Carnegie, Manupa Butler, Norma Giles, Jodie Carnegie, Paul Carnegie (Ngaanyatjarra).  As an eighth generation descendent of a first-fleet convict from the UK, Kimberley has long examined the history of mapping as both the core problematic and the collaborative potential between understandings of Western ‘Landscape’ and Aboriginal ‘Country’. His work as an artist and curator has centred around this intercultural discussion in originary Australian and International terms for the past 20 years.

Commencing: 11 April – 10 May 2015, the project begins with a collaborative contemporary art durational journey to three world-heritage sites on three continents:

  • Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area (Mungo National Park) Australia;  one of the oldest sites of human occupation of Australia, 42,000+ years.
  • Kumano Kodo World Heritage Walk, Japan; one of only two UNESCO World Heritage listed pilgrimage walks in the world, iconic in the history of Japan for the past 1000 years.
  • Valcamonica Rock Art World Heritage Area, Italy; a spectacular valley, home to over 300,000 rock engravings up to 13,000 years old.

Other Participating Thinkers Include:
Marie Mitchell (Paakantji/Aus) | Leanne Mitchell (Paakantji/Aus) | Warren Clark (Barkindji/Aus) | Tanya Charles (Mutthi Mutthi/Aus) |  Petri Saarikko (Finland) | Daniele Salvalai (Italy) |
Federico Troletti, Dipartimento, Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici (Italy) |
John McBride, Walk Japan (Japan/Aus).